The Icelandic government has organized a second chartered flight to repatriate Venezuelan citizens in January 2024. This follows the successful repatriation of 180 Venezuelans on November 15, 2023, with the assistance of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex. This initiative has been coordinated by the Icelandic Directorate of Migration and the Office of the National Commissioner.
A Prickly Homecoming
Despite the repatriation being voluntary, reports from Caracas airport indicated that the returnees were detained and not allowed to move freely upon landing. This sparked investigations by the Icelandic authorities, who reached out to those affected. Confirmations were received that many are now free and have reached their destinations. However, a few reported loss of money and being coerced into signing unspecified documents.
Voluntary Repatriation: A Continuing Effort
Prior to the chartered flight, Iceland had ensured the incident-free return of 135 Venezuelans on regular flights. The government continues to facilitate voluntary repatriation, with a group of Venezuelans having already applied or being eligible to apply for such assistance. The effort underscores the commitment of the Icelandic immigration office and international agencies in addressing the Venezuelan refugee crisis.
The Interagency Regional Platform for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela (R4V) is soliciting $1.59 billion in funding to support three million Venezuelan refugees and their host communities.